The Commissioner monitors the carrying out of works in roads in Scotland undertaken by both roads authorities and utility companies.'
Since 1 April 2008, the Commissioner has been the keeper of the Scottish Road Works Register (SRWR) and is responsible for ensuring that the SRWR is used effectively to plan and coordinate road works throughout Scotland.
For any management information system, the inputting of precise and timely data leads to the effective extraction of information and accurate reports. The SRWR is no exception, with thousands of notices being input every week from planned future works through to actual and historical works.
The key outcomes which the Commissioner considers that the public are looking for in relation to road works are:
- Shorter Works Periods - works should be continuous and take no longer to complete than is absolutely necessary.
- Better Co-ordination of Works - guidance on distance between works should be adhered to. Care should be taken to ensure that there are no works on sensitive parallel routes or diversion routes.
- Better Traffic Management - compliance with codes regarding the placing of signs, cones and barriers and more consideration of practical issues on, for example, traffic signal timing changes which might be required and how to cater for pedestrian movements.
Better Reinstatements - when roads are dug up they need to be refilled correctly with suitable compacted material and the top running surface correctly replaced to provide a long lasting repair.
From this the Commissioner produced 5 key questions which any monitoring of road works should try to answer:
- Are roads authorities coordinating the works on their roads?
- Are utility companies cooperating with the roads authorities?
- Are works taking too long to complete?
- Is traffic management (the signs, cones and barriers associated with road works) to an acceptable standard?
- Are reinstatements (the re-filling and re-surfacing of holes) in roads meeting the specification?
For each of the five key questions above, potential indicators were identified and then developed. None of these indicators alone is used to determine the performance of either a roads authority or a utility company, however when interpreted together they provide a good indication as to those organisations which are operating acceptably and those where there would appear to be room for improvement.